controversiAl proposals to close Morley police station completely at weekends look to have been shelved after politicians and regional police negotiated a way to plug the funding gap.
Debate has been raging in recent weeks about the planned slashing of hours at the station.
Now a new plan has been drawn up which could see part-time opening remain on Saturdays – with single-shift opening on weekdays – after Morley’s Town Council agreed to provide some of the funding from its own coffers, the remainder to come from a local police cash pot.
The plan could be rubber-stamped at an area committee meeting in September.
Chief Superintendent Paul Money, divisional commander for West Yorkshire Police’s City and Holbeck section, said: “We have taken on board local people’s views, particularly around providing some late and weekend opening.
“We are now proposing the public enquiry counter at Morley police station will be open from 1pm to 9pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 10am to 6pm Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
“We are continuing to liaise with the Town Council to explore all the available options to see if it will be possible to provide some weekend opening with their support and limited funding from the divisional budget.
“Despite the current pressure on budgets, we are determined to remain as accessible as possible to the public.”
Politicians across the party divide were today claiming credit for the partial U-turn.
Coun Robert Finnigan, from Morley Borough Independents, said: “Morley Policing Team do an excellent job and crime levels continue to fall. We have identified the finance needed to support our plan and will be working with the police to deliver this change. Unlike others who just moaned about the closure at Morley police station, we looked at positive options to keep it open on a weekend.”
Morley and Outwood MP Ed Balls said: “I’ve joined forces with Coun Neil Dawson in opposing these proposals for Morley police station. Coun Dawson has called on Morley Town Council to step in and, if necessary, fund Saturday opening themselves so we protect this vital resource for the local community. The message from local people is loud and clear. They want to protect our local community policing.”